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Home Entertainment: ’Demons 1 & 2’ UHD review

Out now, folks.

Directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by horror maestro Dario Argento, Demons and its sequel Demons 2 are about to be released on Blu-ray and UHD in the UK via Arrow Films. The set transports the viewer back to the mid-eighties and offers those unfamiliar with the films the opportunity to experience some neon-soaked Italian gore. 

Demons, released in 1985, shows the supernatural perils of a visit to the cinema. As a horror film plays out on screen, a real horror begins to infect the theatre patrons and the audience find themselves in a battle against hordes of demons. Demons plays as Italy’s answer to The Evil Dead, meaning we get a charming cocktail of thrills, scares, gore, and practical effects. 

From a narrative perspective, the plot of Demons is fairly basic, with little in the way of character development. Foregoing the expected three-act structure complete with a character journey, Demons instead operates as a flashbulb event. We know little about any of the victims prior to them arriving in the theatre, and once the demons take hold, we just follow the bloody – and gooey – fights. Demons of course isn’t the type of film you watch for its intricate story, you’re watching for the carnage, and the film has that in abundance. The practical effects are a testament to the time, and whilst they look a little ropey in places by today’s standard, they have that visceral charm that you don’t get from today’s overproduced CGI offerings. 

Complemented by a brilliantly eighties soundtrack, which features Mötley Crüe and Billy Idol amongst others, with Demons, Bava offers a film that feels like a slice of 1985 dished up on screen. Watching Demons now is like stepping into a time machine, every ounce of the movie screams of the era it was made. There is something a little melancholy about watching it in the current climate though. With cinemas being closed for months now, it’s quite painful to sit and see a group of people sat in the dark watching a film on the big screen, even if that film does render the viewer insatiable monsters. The way disease spreads amongst the cinema population has an eerie parallel to our modern selves and the virus we find ourselves facing. 

As gleefully entertaining as Demons is, Demons 2 falls very short in replicating the magic of the first. It tries its hardest, but being released just one year later in 1986, the film obviously had little time to find its own identity. Rather than explore the legacy set up by that epic ending in Demons, Bava opts to lather, rinse, and repeat, the original. The action is transplanted from a cinema to a fancy tower block apartment. As the residents settle in for their evenings of varying activities – a house party, studying, an evening in front of the television – a strange film begins to play on their television screens. The building then comes under attack from vicious and deranged demonic entities.   

Sticking so closely to the original means that Demons 2 is equally gnarly, however the repetition makes it hard to keep the same hold over the viewer. In Demons, there’s a wonderful transformation scene that sees teeth dropping out and being replaced by fangs; this scene is repeated in the sequel, but having already witnessed it, the shock and awe magic is lost. Perhaps if this were to be watched in isolation from, or with some distance from Demons, the impact would be greater. Watching them closely together though is likely to cause a little franchise fatigue, which given this is only film two, is not a good sign. 

This two film box set is being released by Arrow Films and so the release is obviously crammed packed full of special features. Only the best will do for Arrow Films and not content to include one version of each film, they include multiple. For Demons there are three versions, the original full-length cut in both Italian and English, as well as the slightly altered US cut featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects. Whilst not many will sit and watch all versions at once, their inclusion does offer longevity of the disc as it presents the viewer with some slightly different repeat viewing options. Demons 2 has the choice between the English and Italian versions. 

In addition to various versions, the discs include several different audio commentaries, both archival and brand-new, offering plenty of insight and anecdotes into the films and their legacies. Each film includes its own visual essay, one by author and critic Michale Mackenzie who explores Dario Argento’s career as a producer, and another by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas who explores the technology of both films. Then there’s the usual collection of unearthed archival interviews and original trailers, features that ensure this is a fully comprehensive set.  

We watched the UHD disc which presents both films in Dolby Vision, making for the most colourfully intense versions of each. A signature marker of the demons is their mouths, which spew foaming green goo, in Dolby Vision the shade of green is luminescent. Bava’s other use of strong colours, scenes being bathed in reds, yellows, and greens, also look gorgeous.

A collection for die-hard fans, this Demons & Demons 2 boxset will excite and entertain those with a passion for eighties-made silly scares. 

Demons 1 & 2 are released on double disc Blu-ray and UHD boxset on 22nd February 2021. 

Demons & Demons 2 Boxset

Kat Hughes

Demons 2
Special Features


Italy’s answer to The Evil Dead, Demons is chaotically charged fun; whilst Demons 2 can’t quite replicate the same magic, both offer an entertaining slice of eighties hair-metal horror. 


Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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